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Monthly Archives: January 2005

It rained all week. Don’t worry. That’s not the interesting part.

On Friday I got my new scenes assignments for opera scene class. I’m Fiordiligi in the Act II Finale of Cosi fan tutte by Mozart and Melissa (I get to be a magician!) in Handel’s Amadigi. Two lead roles again. Yeah! But the 60 pages of Italian I have to learn in the next week is the bad part. I got through about 5 pages today. Oy vey.

I had my first minor traffic accident on Friday night. I was driving down Oak Street when I guy decided to turn left right in front of me. I slammed on my brakes and was able to stop. But a second after I stopped I moved forward a bit because I was pushed by the guy behind me. My first rear-end accident. Both cars were fine and IT WASN’T MY FAULT. I phoned my Mom to report what had happened and her response was, “Nicole! Heather’s car!!” Um, what about me? Granted the fact that I had called her basically meant that I was okay, but still…

Last night we went out to Aldergrove for a games night with cousins and friends. But my cousins really have to stop re-hashing the stories of me as a little kid. Yes, I only ate chicken noodle soup and vanilla ice cream for lunch for an entire summer when Heidi babysat me. And I know I covered my eyes every time I walked into church (I later used sunglasses as my protective shield – I didn’t think anyone could see me through them…). And yes my poor Dad had to carry me down the aisle at my Auntie Cindy’s wedding. And there was that one time my Grandpa was preaching in church and I started waving my naked Barbies around, singing “If we have no clothes today!” at the top of my lungs (I knew my career path way back then…). They’re good stories. But they’re old. Everyone’s heard them. Anyways…

We played some movie trivia game requiring a DVD player, or in our case, a computer with DVD-playing capabilities. It was fun. I really don’t know too many ’80s movies I realizied. But I rule at all girly/romantic comedy movies and musicals. The final Jeopardy-type question on “The Wizard of Oz”. I owned that one. The other team luckily guessed the right answer as well, but we still won. It was a lot more fun than Taboo was. I can’t stand that game…

Tonight I went for coffee with Michelle Kayter! The first familiar Regina face I’ve seen since I moved here! We met a Calhoun’s, a very cool coffee houes/pub that has live jazz on Sunday and Thursday nights. We caught up on what’s been happening in our lives and relived some moments from Luther, including the morning Michelle called me at 7:30 am and told me that she couldn’t get out of her room. She honestly couldn’t. Maintenance guy Andre had to finally come and remove the lock from her door. She had a test that morning, too, so it was kind of urgent that she get out. It was funny to me then, and it’s still funny to me now.

And now for a rant (I haven’t had one on here for awhile). To the NHLPA and NHL. Pull the plug. I’m tired of the back and forth bickering. Just call the season. I don’t care anymore. You guys have ruined the game. Congrats there. That’s all I have to say (well, not really, but I don’t want to be up all night…).

And here’s a great forward that Dana sent me:

THE FLU SHOT

In recent negotiations for influenza vaccine between a Canadian health official and an American representative, it was clear that there was a disconnect between the American government’s sudden reliance on Canada for influenza vaccine despite the fact that the U.S. wants to discourage Americans from buying routine prescription drugs from Canadian pharmacies. Not seeing the irony in the request, the American continued to press for the vaccine and then demanded to know why the United States would be charged for the vaccine when Canadians get theirs “for free.” The Canadian official replied, “Oh it’s not free, the government pays for it.” “Well then,” the American replied, “How much will it cost us?” The Canadian replied, “Well, we don’t know…we’ll let you know.” In frustration, the American replied, “Well, it’s urgent, so just send an invoice with the shipment. By the way…how will the vaccine be delivered?” After careful consideration, the Canadian official replied, “By cow. Twenty vials of vaccine will be tied around the neck of every cow that passes over the border. Now…if you want faster delivery, there are some some softwood lumber trucks available…”

I thought it was funny…

Well, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I head out to Coquitlam to meet a woman who wants to offer me a permanent position teaching voice one day a week at her music academy. I told her I’ve only recently started teaching, and she wants me to coach senior level students, but she insisted I come and see her. I may have a degree in voice, but that doesn’t mean I can really teach it yet. Wish me luck!

I made my professional teaching debut yesterday, and I realized one very important thing: I will not be teaching piano or voice lessons out of my home for the rest of my life. I knew this beforehand, but I actually came to the realization that I would go crazy if that happened.

I went and was a substitute teacher at the Walnut Grove School of Music out in Langley. It’s a 2 1/2 hour commute EACH WAY. I didn’t get home until after 11:00 last night, and worried the heck out of Heather and my Mom, who was waiting for me to call her. I didn’t realize it would take so long. But I had to catch a bus to the SkyTrain, then get on the SkyTrain, hop off way out in Surrey and then take a 1/2 hour bus ride to get to Langley. The bus connections in the evening are not so good. I had to wait a good 45 minutes for a bus after I was done teaching.

I mostly taught piano yesterday – beginner piano. Oh how little kids can pound those keys. And how they can’t count. I did so much pencil-banging because of the lack of a metronome and so much clapping out of rhythms. But the kids were cute. And I think they liked me. One of the parents sat in on her daughter’s lesson and told me afterwards, “She really liked you. You have a way with her that she really responds to.” I highly doubt that. I think I was just lucky to have great kids. I even had to teach a choir of 5 year olds, one of which told me I had as good of a singing voice as their teacher and that I even looked like her. Score two for me! Luckily only 3 of them showed up, and the choir of 8 year olds didn’t show up at all. I played instrument recognition games, and singing games with the 5 year olds, and then we sang some of their songs including the great hit, “I Wish I Were A Fish”. Why do I wish I was a fish? “I wouldn’t have to eat my vegetables, I wouldn’t have to go to bed, I wouldn’t have to do my homework. I wouldn’t have to do the things I HATE!” (directly quote from the song) And then the kids proceeded to yell out the things they hate. Mushrooms was the overwhemingly popular answer.

But I also came to the conclusion yesterday that I have no idea how to teach someone to sing. I don’t know how to explain things in simple enough terms. I know how I do it, but I can’t tell someone with a breathy voice how to round out the tone. And I also realized that I can’t teach someone to sing, “How Do I Live” by Trisha Yearwood. One of the girls brought in a book of pop music and that’s what she sang for the 30 minutes. How do you teach someone who clearly wants to be the next Kelly Clarkson? I just don’t know…

It was a great experience for me and I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. By the end of it I didn’t want to hear one more C major scale, but I think that’s normal. But when I got home Heather told me that I could have taken her car out to Langley, since she wasn’t using it. And that, my friends, would have saved me 1 1/2 hours – each way.

But I kid you not. Aprés this afternoon’s matinée performance, I walked out of the Academy and saw an unfamiliar sight: there were tulips coming up out of the ground. Tulips. IN JANUARY! I looked at my friend Rowena in disbelief. She looked at me as if I was off my rocker. “What’s wrong?” she nervously asked. “There are…there are…tulips. Coming up out of the ground,” I gasped out. Rowena looked at me again, but much more concerned this time. “And what’s wrong with tulips coming up out of the ground?” she quiered me. “It’s January. Tulips should not be coming out of the ground in January.” She looked at me again, but this time a smile spread across her face, and a smirk crossed her lips. “Oh, right. You’re a Prairie girl,” was her response. I wanted to take a picture of those tulips, but was too embarassed. I’ll take one of them tomorrow when no one else is around.

After the tulip discovery, we then headed out to a little café in Kitsilano. And we sat outside at my suggestion. Actually, it was more of a demand than a suggestion. I wanted to be able to say that I ate the most delicious cinnamon bun I have ever tasted (they were out of tiramisu – grrr…) OUTSIDE IN JANUARY! I sat there, looking around at the people walking their dogs, even though it was cloudy and trying to rain, and with incredulity said, “I can’t believe this! It’s January 23rd. It’s 12 degrees outside. I’m sitting outside at a little café, and there are tulips coming up already. What the heck kind of place is this?” I told my friends to “humor the Prairie girl. She still feels like a tourist.” They don’t get it. They don’t understand that I’ve lived in a deep freeze for 22 years. They’ve lived out here and on the Sunshine Coast for all of their lives. They don’t understand snow. They don’t understand cold. But I don’t care. I don’t miss blizzards. I don’t miss -40. Not one bit after a day like today. But I can say I’ve lived through it. I’ve been tough. They can’t say that out here.

“You Prairie people…”

I had the concert experience of a lifetime on Thursday night. I went to go see my hero: Renée Fleming. She’s one of the best sopranos in the world today, and the woman has a trill to die for. I was mesmerized for most of the program, just sitting there, thinking, “She isn’t human. She can’t be. Nobody can actually sing like she sings.” She released a book back in November that I received as a Christmas present and read over the holidays that has endeared her to me even more. I want to be just like her when I grow up…

It was hilarious to go from this world-class concert to the Academy’s production last night. I’d been having doubts about this show for a good month now, and insisted that I’d need a gong on opening night because the whole thing was going to be a “gong show”. But you know, it turned out really well. My voice has been slow to recover from my battle with the flu and a nasty chest cold (my ears still have fluid in them 3 weeks later…), but it finally came back last night. And it felt wonderful! I remember all of my words as well. My duet has 6 phrases, one right after the other, that all begin with “Ich setz den Fall…” (it’s German), and from there, I have to remember which order the following words come in. I don’t think I’d ever actually had it right until last night. The only unfortunate part of this night was that I had to pretend to be over-the-top in love with someone who irritates me. Such is life on the stage…

The “rain at times heavy” has started here again. We had a brief reprieve from it for about 10 hours yesterday, but it started up again sometime during last night’s concert. If there is anything I have learned this week, it is this: do not build a house on a cliff. Ever. You never know when the house will slide down the cliff.

And on a closing note: have you seen George Stroumboulopoulos’ (I checked the spelling on his name) new show, “The Hour” on CBC Newsworld? If not, you should – it’s really, really good.

Anyways, I’m off to church. Have a great weekend all!

My Mom sent me this forward, and I just had to share it with you all.

OTTAWA TO NATIONALIZE NHL!

Prime Minister Martin today announced that the federal government

will take over the National Hockey League and run it as a “sacred trust,

just like health care.” The announcement came as pressure mounted for the government to do something to end the current NHL shutdown.

“No Canadian should be deprived of NHL hockey during hockey

season,” Martin said. “We will take over the NHL and run it in the public interest, just like we run the government of Canada.” In an hour-long news conference, the prime minister outlined reforms to the national game that his government will present to an emergency session of Parliament next week. “To protect the NHL from further Americanization, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman will be fired and replaced immediately by Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson,” Martin said. Asked whether the Governor-General knew anything about hockey, Martin replied “not much,” but that Clarkson and 200 of her closest friends would be leaving immediately on a fact-finding tour to investigate hockey-government relations in Hawaii, Fiji and Monaco. To address long-standing concerns about escalating violence in hockey, Martin said the government will increase the number of linesmen and referees to 12 per game, one official for each player on the ice. In addition, Canada’s gun registry legislation will be amended to require all hockey sticks to be registered. Once nationalized, all NHL teams will be subject to federal government guidelines for gender equality, affirmative action, and non-discrimination in hiring. “Inability to skate, shoot, or pass,” Martin said, “will no longer be a sufficient reason for denying any Canadian an opportunity to play in the NHL.” Martin added that in future all NHL teams will also be required to abolish the position of “right wing” from their rosters. Asked why, Martin said it was necessary to increase support for hockey among union members, and to secure NDP backing for the NHL nationalization bill in Parliament. The PM affirmed that “the great Canadian principle of equalization will be fully applied to our national game.” “The current distribution of NHL teams in Canada is unacceptable to this government,” he said. “It violates the principle of regional equality for Alberta and Ontario to have two! NHL teams each while some provinces have none. Commencing next season, the Toronto Maple Leafs will be moved to Fredericton and the Edmonton Oilers to Charlottetown.” Martin declared the seating arrangements at NHL hockey rinks “unacceptable” as well. “We do not accept two-tier medicine in this country and we cannot accept multi-tier seating at hockey arenas. It’s un-Canadian.” Martin explained that former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano will be put in charge of a program to flatten the seating arrangements in all NHL arenas. Asked how spectators in the back rows would be able to see the game, Martin said the government is devising a plan for rotating spectators from back seats to front seats between periods.

“It is our intention, in the interests of fairness, to ensure that any

inability to see the game is fully equalized among all spectators, Martin said. “It’s the Canadian way.” In recognition of the principle of “asymmetric federalism,” and to secure the support of the Bloc Quebecois for the nationalization measure, Martin also confirmed that the Montreal Canadians will be exempted from the proposed reforms. Finally, to pay for the nationalization program, the government’s next budget will include a Fan Tax, an Ice Tax, a Puck Tax, a Stick Registration Fee and a new 115-per-cent income tax bracket for any hockey player making more money than the PM.

HOCKEY! Please come back!!!!

A is for age: 22

B is for booze: None, thank you. I don’t need alcohol – I’m way too loopy already.

C is for career: Well…opera singer/musicologist – one day – hopefully…

D is for dad’s name: Which also start with D: Dale.

E is for essential items to bring to a party: Car keys so that you can leave if things get out of hand.

F is for favorite song at the moment: “Since You’ve Been Gone” – Kelly Clarkson. I know. I’m silly.

G is for the number of gardens you’ve grown (I made this one up since the G was missing – can you tell?): Mercifully, 1. I tried to make my own garden the summer before last, and I bought a whole bunch of plants and seeds and made a really nice pattern with them and was so excited! My Dad ended up taking care of it for me because I couldn’t be bothered to go out and weed. Thanks Dad!

H is for hometown: Rosthern, Saskatchewan

I is for instruments you play: Piano, used to play the French Horn.

J is for jam or jelly you like: I don’t like jelly.

K is for kids: None at the present, but I’d like 4 someday. 🙂 4 little Nicoles/Nicholases running around – isn’t that a scary, scary, scary thought?

L is for living arrangements: #512-1405 West 15th Avenue, Vancouver, BC

M is for mom’s name: Which also starts with M (weird, same thing happened with my Dad’s name!): Myrn (Myrna without the a)

N is for name of your best friend: I’m not playing favorites here. 😉

O is for overnight hospital stays: One. When I broke my forearm in Grade 2, they actually had to put me under and PULL my arm back together again. And I stayed overnight. Luckily for me my Mom was working at the hospital that night. Thank goodness. She was even able to get the kitchen staff to give me Cheerios for breakfast the next morning instead of what they were going to serve. Havig a Mom for a nurse is nice (there’s way too much alliteration going on in this thing…)

P is for phobia[s]: OOOOH! Where the heck do I begin? Hmmm…I won’t bore or scare you with the length of this list. Next…

Q is for quote you like: “It’s my responsibility to live up to the gifts I have been given, to live up to the measure of my own potential.” Justin Trudeau

R is for your Favourite Rated R movie: R-rated movie? Ummm…oh, “Closer” with…Jude Law (duh!)

S if for your singer: Renée Fleming, the famous soprano whom I get to see LIVE in concert tomorrow night at the Orpheum!!!!

U is for the number of umbrellas you own (I made up this question, too): 1. I had another one, but it broke.

V is for vegetable you love: Potatoes. Hands down.

W is for worst trait: OOOOH! So many here, too. Right now: being way too hard on myself.

X is for x-rays you’ve had: Well, at least 3, but it’s probably more like 6 or 7. I’ve broken my arms 3 times, but the 2nd time I had to have 3 casts, so…6 or 7.

Y is for yummy food you make: I am definitely not a good cook. I’m learning. I do make pretty good chocolate chip cookies, though.

Z is for zodiac sign: Libra – the sign of balance – yeah right!

Never! The sun will never ever be the light of day again at this rate. Here is Environment Canada’s forecast for the rest of the week:

Wednesday: Rain – at times heavy

Thursday: Rain – at times heavy

Friday: Periods of rain

Saturday: Chance of showers – 70% (read: it’s going to rain. Even 30% means it’s going to rain around here)

Sunday: Rain

THIS HAS TO STOP!!!! Saskatchewan weather is still the craziest in all the world, but this is a little ridiculous. Two weeks ago there was snow. Today the rain is pouring down in 5,000 gallon pails, the grass is green, and there are FLOWERS!!!! planted in flower boxes outside my corner grocery store. What kind of weird universe is this?

Now, I like rainy days. Always have. But they were few and far between in Saskatchewan – like a little treat. My siblings accused me of praying for clouds and rain when we were little. I don’t think I ever did – except for those days when the whole school was supposed to go out to some camp and play games in the forest – trust games and get-to-know-each-other games. I prayed for rain then, but trust me, I was saving us all. But now that I walk to school every day in the rain, that my pants get completely soaked, that my boots really aren’t waterproof like they said they were, and that I constantly feel like a wet mop – the rain is not my friend anymore. I mean, I just read that by the end of the week, we will have had more rain than Calgary gets in an ENTIRE YEAR! Come on! And they’ve given this phenomenon a cutsie name too – “Tropical Punch”! Tee hee! GRRRR!!!!

Oh, the rain!

Slaw

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